Eldar Review: Lord of War: Avatar of Khaine

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Say what you want about Games Workshop, they make incredible models.  Today I will be reviewing one of my favorite looking models in 40k, the Avatar of Khaine.

Unfortunately despite being an incredible model the remaining manifestations of the Eldar God of War is just mediocre of the battlefield.  That said I have come up with an idea as to how to use him that I think could make a fun and decent list to play because the Avatar is too cool of a model to be the elf on the shelf.

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The Avatar of Khaine is so close to being great it’s frustrating.  If he had just 1 or 2 tweaks to his rules he would be a fantastic, but unfortunately 40k is now a game where the elite units feature D-weapons, stomps, speed, and/or great resilience.  In this reality, the Bloody Handed God manifested falls just short. If he was a GMC, he would be an all star. But in this day and age, MCs simply do not cut the mustard.

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I’m a God, but I’ll Give you a Chance

If you got into a time machine and traveled back in 40k time when there weren’t gargantuan creatures or T5 Wraiths, or all sorts of re-rollable invulnerable saves on the table, the current version of the Avatar of Khaine would be great.  The Avatar is WS/BS 10, S/T 6, 5 W, I 10, 5 A, LD 10, with a 3+/5++ save, Monstrous Creature for the price of 195pts. So what’s the problem?  Mainly he has to walk across the table 6″ at a time all by himself.  In the current rendition of 40k there is a lot of high strength, high volume shooting that will ignore his save and take him down before he gets to fight, and that’s before you have to worry about a 6 from a D-weapon or a stomp and before you have to figure out how to cut through 3++ invulnerable saves and reanimation protocols. It’s hard to make an almost 200 point model work when most armies can kill him on the turn they decide to try to.

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Wargear

Wailing Doom:  You see that rad looking sword the Avatar is carrying?  It’s not just for show.  This sword can be used to shoot a 12″ S8, AP 1 Melta shot, or can be used in close combat where it is S+2, AP 1 Armourbane.   That means the Avatar has a base of 5 WS10, AP1 S8 attacks at initiative 10.   That gives him a decent chance to cut through a knight on the charge but if you don’t get him that knight will mess you up with his own D weapon attacks and stomps.

Special Rules

  • The Avatar of Khaine has a lot of special rules some of which also buff the rest of your army.  Overall his special rules are good and are the bases of the the list I would run with an Avatar of Khaine.
  • First the Avatar of Khaine has all the special rules of a monstrous creature.  Meaning he has smash, move through cover, relentless, fear, and hammer of wrath.
  • Khaine Awakened:  The Avatar and all friendly eldar units within 12″ of him have the Fearless, Furious Charge, and Rage special rule.  That means that on the charge you Avatar is rocking 7 S9 I10 Ap1 attacks.  That also synergizes well with a bunch of Eldar units.
  • Molten Body:  Your Avatar of Khaine is immune to all of the pyromancy psychic powers, which is nice because everyone rolls on that discipline ;),   all flamer weapons, melta weapons, and attacks with the soul blaze special rule.  There is no down side to this rule but there are still lots of high strength low AP weapons out there for him to worry about.
  • Daemon:  The Avatar causes fear and has a 5++ invulnerable,  I wish he had a better invunerable but you take what you get.
  • Fleet:  Which is good for a unit you want to make it into close combat and for simply getting up the field quickly.
  • Battle Focus:  Works nice to extend the range of his melta shot.
  • Ancient doom: Gives him Hatred of Slaanesh while he ignores the leadership penalty being  fearless.

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Let’s Make it Work

To make the Avatar work in my opinion you have to design a list that helps make him more mobile and takes advantage of his aura special rules.  Thus, if you are going to run the Avatar, I think you should take him as a Living Legend auxiliary choice as part of the Eldar War Host.  With the command benefit, Matchless Agility, your Avatar will always run 6″ meaning he is fast enough on foot to potentially have a turn 2 charge.

For your core detachment I think either the Guardian Stormhost or the Guardian Battlehost is a solid choice.  In either core formation the Guardians will benefit from the Avatar making them fearless and you can buff up their resiliency with psychic powers from your farseer or warlocks. Parking some nice large fearless blobs in the middle of the table can give you some nice board control.  With rage and furious charge, Storm Guardian squads of 20 would have an Ork level of attacks on the charge and  even Guardian Defenders will be rolling buckets of dice.

I would also take an Aspect Host as an Auxiliary formation  with 3 units of Howling Banshees.  With their extra distance on their run and charge, the WS 5 Banshees (due to the Aspect Host) should be ready for a turn 2 assault and the Avatar is fast enough to keep close enough to give them rage and furious charge.  30 fearless Howling Banshees with +1 strength and +2 attacks on the charge at WS 5 will hurt a lot of targets and be right in your opponents face taking pressure off your other units. Plus, you have the satisfactoin of using Howling Banshees!

Even after paying for the Aspect Host, the Avatar, and the Core detachment, you should still have enough points to add some more  units into your list.  I think a list like that would be a blast to play, but it isn’t really a top tier army because you will  lose a lot of punch if the Avatar goes down. And hey, you can always throw in a Wraithknight, too!

In all, the Avatar is a near miss. He can be great, but will more often than not die before ever making it in to combat. Without some serious psychic buffs or luck, he is just too easy to kill.

I hope you enjoyed this article for more reviews and tactics articles make sure to check out Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner and remember, Games Workshop sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day!

 

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17 Responses to “Eldar Review: Lord of War: Avatar of Khaine”

  1. Black Blow Fly January 30, 2016 6:09 pm #

    No love here for wishing it was a GMC.

  2. Beau January 30, 2016 11:04 pm #

    He’s fine for casual play. I bet a list built around him with some seer council would melt green tide or nids.

    Does his aura increase WK and WL attacks too?

    I would like to see Eldar Monsters vs Chaos Monsters game.

    • westrider January 30, 2016 11:21 pm #

      Eldar Monsters would roflstomp the Chaos. Chaos has some solid stuff in that department, but nothing on a level with the WraithKnight, Point for Point.

      • Beau January 31, 2016 10:27 am #

        This is somewhat true… I have tried these match ups many times. They are always fun but usually I find its the other units like D scythes and seer council that shift the balance.

        D Thirsters, Instant Death Nurgle Daemon Princes, Keeper of Secrets with Grimoire, and maybe even a Chaos Knight or kytan could in a unbound brawl could be interesting.

        • Trasvi February 1, 2016 5:47 am #

          Wait, he isn’t Eternal Warrior?
          If not then I got majorly cheated then at my last tournament 🙁

          • Reecius
            Reecius February 1, 2016 8:31 am
            #

            Yeah, we wish he was EW, lol

  3. Mike stereo January 31, 2016 2:09 am #

    Put him in a list with the wind rider host and a wraithknight and I find the your opponent thinks more about the other units and then out of nowhere he rocks in and smashes through something pricey. He is also a monster if you can make him invisible the turn he charges. That Initiative 10 is brutal with thy sword

  4. Sersis January 31, 2016 3:18 am #

    I really like the list of fluffy Ulthwe Craftworld Warhost detachment for friendly games:
    – Avatar
    – Guardian Stormhost: – 3 8-strong squads of Storm Guardians (flames/Powerswords for free) + Warlocks in each, Farseer, 1 Vyper, 3 Scatter Laser Walkers, 3 Weaver Artillery
    – Seer Council: on foot, 5 Warlocks, 2 Farseers
    – Jain Zar
    – Aspect Host: +1BS, Howling Banshees, Dark Reapers, Swooping Hawks

    Banshees with Jain Zar run in the front with Avatar Seer Council behind, Storm Guardians are running around to remain in the Aura and get into cover if possible.
    Farseers focus on Telepathy to get Invisibility. Ideally – 2 of them) First to turn Avatar Invisible, second – Banshees. Due to overlaping auras from Avatar and Jain Zar this works like a charm)

    Aspect host can be alternatively made full of melee squads: Banshees, Scorpions, Shining Spears (don’t have enough Banshees for 3 squads of them).

    Had great fun with it. Opponents were really surprised when Banshees hit them on turn 2 with their ridiculous charge distance with 4 Str quadrillion attacks, and Concealed guardians charging non-combat oriented squads.

  5. Charlie January 31, 2016 4:58 am #

    I’ll start by stating that I’m not advocating the Avatar is better than the original author describes. By all accounts, I agree with the assessment.

    He is a staple in my Eldar army and the author hit on a very important bit, Matchless Agility. It is imperative the Avatar be a part of a Craftworld Warhost to get Matchless Agility as now you have an Avatar moving 12″ a turn (he has Move Through Cover, so there are decent odds of rolling a 6 if you need to move him through cover). Generally speaking, I have a model that can move 11-12″ per turn and has Fleet for Assault distances. With the addition of the Doom of Mymeara FW book, you now have access to another Core Choice for a Craftworld Warhost which is very customizable. This can limit some of the tax units in the Windrider, Guardian, or Storm Guardian Core choices.

    He can be shot off the table if your opponent focuses on him. However, that is where you list design comes into play. You want to make it to where the Avatar is not a priority target. Things like Wraithknights, Warp Hunters, Scatbikes seem to be a more desirable target. I think list design is likely one of the key pieces to ensuring he doesn’t get shot off the table on turns 1 or 2. He has 5 wounds and can take some punishment, but not against most of your opponent’s shooting. Locally where I play, we limit Super Heavies and Gargantuan Creatures to 0-1 per army, with the exception made for Imperial Knight armies. This is pretty important in list design as it curtails what can easily stop an Avatar. If I were regularly facing off against 2-4 Wraithknights, I’d likely not be using the Avatar.

    His aura does work with Wraithknights and I’ve used that quite a bit as well. However, the only real benefit is Rage, but that alone is nothing to ignore. The Fearless bubble is significant and Furious Charge has come into play on a few occasions.

    I don’t use the FW model. If FW created rules for him as a GC I may. As it stands, I used the GW model which is more fitting as a MC and easier to get out of LoS (of course, this will greatly depend on one’s local scene regarding terrain.) It is an official model and not out of production, so there is nothing cheeky about using it.

    Fleet is not to be underestimated. This gives a great ability to make the longer than average assault ranges. If you have to go through cover, you need to be very sure the Avatar will survive the assault.

    Picking targets. You have to be aware of what the Avatar can and cannot handle. He cannot handle Gargantuan Creatures in assault. Stomp rolls of a 6 can happen which is very risky. But, that is also true for most other units in the game. He cannot handle (single-handedly) Superfriends death stars (really need S10 attacks in this case). He can drop an Imperial Knight on the charge with little difficulty. He can work well against a score of units. Because his is WS10, your opponent needs WS5 or better to hit on 4+, otherwise, they need 5+ to hit. Synergy in an assault can be key.

    Psychic Buffs. Fortune and/or Invisibility is always good for a laugh with this model. Shroud can be comical when folks realize the Avatar is in a ruin packing a 2+ cover save.

    I don’t expect a player to be on the top table at a larger events with an Avatar in his list, but it is very possible in smaller venues. I don’t ever believe I’m making it to the top table in larger events; I don’t get to play nearly as much and don’t strive to keep up with the absolute latest and greatest. The last three tourneys I’ve participated in I’ve gone 2-0-1 (18 players), 2-1 (30 players), and 4-1 (32 players, winning my bracket). If folks want to build an Eldar army that is not 3 x 6 Scatbikes, 3 x 3 D-Cannons, Wraithknight, 2 x Farseers, then the Avatar may fit the niche you need in the list. This Eldar Codex is one of the best written, not because Scatbikes are so good. Rather, because most of the units in the book are actually playable, which includes the Avatar.

    • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 8:58 am #

      >Things like Wraithknights, Warp Hunters, Scatbikes seem to be a more desirable target.

      If you already have Wraithknights, Warp Hunters, and Scat Bikes, what do you need the Avatar for? Just spend 200pts on more Warp Hunters and Scat Bikes.

      • Charlie January 31, 2016 3:15 pm #

        I run one Wraithknight, 2 Warp Hunters and 3 x 3 Scatbikes, so why run more of them? Why should I not run an Avatar? I already have the better units in my army, so I can afford to put him in the army and he works pretty well. He fills gaps that Warp Hunters and Scatbikes don’t. Plus I can’t run a second Wraithknight in my area. If I could, the Avatar likely would not be in the army.

        • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 9:30 pm #

          Well, that’s kinda my point- the ONLY reason to run the Avatar is basically a “meh why not I’m not allowed to use good units” shrug of the shoulders. There really isn’t anything to recommend it because it’s just a generic slow combat MC, which have never been good in the entire history of the game.

          • Charlie February 1, 2016 4:35 pm
            #

            So, your point is it is a meh unit, something the author and I both agreed on? There is no secret as to what is good in a codex: that takes all of a 10 minute read. Running those kinds of armies may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If folks can still play with the less than best units on the game and win or lose games with them, sharing the experience is kind of the point of these discussions. It is a bit more constructive than, “take more Scatbikes”. However, the Avatar is not a bad choice, but he is not the optimum choice.

  6. BobC January 31, 2016 5:39 am #

    Everyone forgets that as a daemon, you can deep strike the avatar!

    • Styro-J January 31, 2016 6:56 am #

      I believe thats just for Codex: Daemons. BRB Daemons just get Fear and a 5+ invulnerable save. I almost cried when he lost that 4+ and the old 155 point cost, BUT the extra stats and rules (particularly Fleet) are honestly worth it.

      Long gone are the days of Eldrad double casting Fortune to walk this monster up the field.

      • BobC January 31, 2016 7:30 am #

        I checked and you’re right, no more deep strike for daemons 🙁

  7. Beau January 31, 2016 10:32 am #

    I really wish his buff bubble affected Dark Eldar Khaine units *COUGH COUGH INCUBI WORSHIP KHAINE COUGH*

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